I've been online dating for some time now, and I thought I'd seen it all.
I'm not really that interested in having a long-term relationship (although I wouldn't pass it up if Mr Right happened along), but I admit that I enjoy the thrill of meeting new people and seeing where it leads - which is usually nowhere.
I've been on dates with lawyers (boring), management consultants (too self-centred), a TV celebrity (gay) and a really nice IT guy (who turned out to be married, but keen for a 'bit on the side').
Anyway, last week I was excited about meeting this 'well off (his words) investment banker, who was apparently on the look-out for a soul mate to spend all his money on.
We arranged to meet in my local restaurant (where the waiters know me and will come to my rescue if things get out of hand), and the first thing I noticed was that my investment banker dream date appeared to have put on around 3 kilos overnight. A case of 'old picture' syndrome, of course.
My suspicions were further aroused when, almost as soon as he sat down, his cell phone rang. And it wasn't even a BlackBerry. After a brief conversation with the caller, during which he had to constantly wipe the sweat off his brow, he turned his attentions to me. I immediately wished he hadn't, as his halitosis nearly knocked me off my chair.
'Sorry I'm late,' he kicked off, 'Problem at the office. You know how it is'.
I don't actually, because the death of my first husband left me rather well off, but I nod anyway, wondering if I could make my exit before the starter (which would have been a first, even for me).
But before I could clear my mind and come up with something original to get me out of there, he grabbed the menu and started ordering - practically everything. The food just kept coming, and as he wolfed down yet another helping he kept repeating how he was trying to lose weight and get back in shape (perhaps he was in bulimia training ?) . In the end, I just sat back - fascinated as this blob of a man shamelessly shovelled food into his mouth like it was going out of fashion.
After over an hour and a half of juvenile conversation, I hinted that it was time to pick up the tab (it's usually only fair to go dutch on the first 'date').
'No, let me', he insisted, as he brushed the food off his shirt (or at least the stuff that wasn't already stained in) and got out his Visa card (no American Express Corporate Card in sight). Of course, the payment wasn't authorized. 'That keeps happening', he reassured me. His bank, apparently, was 'pretty useless'.
I then made the mistake of mentioning that I had my car, and before I knew it he'd bagged a lift home - which ended up being way across town. I held my breath as he turned to peck me on the cheek to say goodnight, and he promised to call me up and speak to me the next day (he never did call, but I guess that that was no surprise as I gave him the gay TV celebrity's number). I looked back in the rear view mirror as I drove off into the distance, and there he was standing at the door, waving me off - accompanied by his mother.
I had to shower as soon as I got home - the mixture of his bad breath and that mouldy body odour smell had got to me (I called the car valet service the following day). And I glanced at his business card as I threw it away. He did, in fact, work for an investment bank - but in Premises (whatever that is), rather than in M&A - as he tried to have me believe. Back to the drawing board.
image: © Jeffrey Beall